Top 5 mistakes to avoid when hiring a criminal defense lawyer

Facing criminal charges is an incredibly stressful and frightening experience. The stakes are high, and having the right criminal defense lawyer by your side all the difference in the outcome of your case. However, hiring the wrong lawyer does more harm than good. To make sure you find the best attorney for your situation, avoid these five common mistakes people make when hiring a criminal defense lawyer.  The number one mistake people make is not thoroughly researching a criminal defense lawyer’s background and qualifications.

Don’t assume that any attorney will be skilled in defending criminal cases. You want someone who specializes in criminal law and has extensive experience representing clients facing charges like yours. Make sure to ask the attorney detailed questions about their education, years in practice, track record with similar cases, knowledge of your charges, relationships with local prosecutors and judges, and more. Don’t feel awkward about digging deep into your questions – this is the most important decision you for your case.

Prioritizing cost over expertise

It’s natural to want to control legal costs, but focusing too much on price short-changes you when it comes to the skills and expertise of your attorney. The cheapest lawyer is not necessarily the best choice. Remember, you get what you pay for.  Examine what you’re getting for the cost. An experienced lawyer with higher rates likely has the courtroom skills and negotiation tactics to potentially save you much more money in the long run compared to a bargain lawyer. Find someone you reasonably afford, but don’t let cost override all other factors.

Lacks trial experience

Don’t assume your case will be resolved through a plea deal. Even if that’s your goal, having an attorney who’s skilled at trial work is crucial. The prosecution will be more motivated to offer a favourable plea bargain if your lawyer has a proven ability to defend you successfully in court. Ask specifically about the lawyer’s trial experience. Have they taken many cases to trial? What were the results? Their skills in the courtroom give you important leverage. An unproven court lawyer ends up costing you in the end.

Lawyer-client relationship

Before officially hiring a top criminal lawyers in Winnipeg, you understand precisely what services they will and won’t provide get clear definitions of response times, communication frequency, who does the actual work (the attorney or paralegals/associates), and the lawyer’s availability to attend hearings and meetings. Leave no room for assumptions – put everything about the working relationship in writing upfront. You want to know what you’re paying for and what you expect. It avoids disappointment down the road.

Checking references thoroughly

Any lawyer you consider should be happy to provide references from past clients. Make sure to follow through and contact them. Ask questions about their overall experience, how responsive the lawyer was, if they were satisfied with the outcome and more.  Online reviews are helpful, but references directly from the attorney will give you the best insight. Don’t skip this step – you want a clear picture of what the attorney is really like to work with from people who have firsthand experience.